Sunday, June 15, 2008
A little mention of Whitman as he was the father of free verse. If you haven't read I Sing The Body Electric, it's time to head to the library. This stuff is the grit of America and if you stop to think about it he's teaching us what all our fathers have taught us; respect the land, treat others with kindness but be firm and take special honor of those who sacrifice for you.
O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light--of the objects mean--of the struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all--of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest--with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?
I don't think of my father most on father's day as he wasn't a man of ceremony. He didn't command respect one day a year, he commanded respect always. He was dark hair and dark eyes and knew more people than anyone I've ever met. Anywhere we'd be there was someone my father knew and knew fairly well. He liked that people knew him and it was an every day occurrence that someone would just stop at our house, no call, no plans, just stopped in. And when they did there was always an extra plate for them at the table. There was always time to stop and tell stories and he always had a hand to help someone else.
People were different then, they were more social and like I said he just knew everybody. We had huge summer parties because he loved to cook for a crowd and if he came home from a fishing trip with coolers full of fish, we had the fish fry for anyone and everyone we knew. My father was fun. People wanted to be near him because he would make you laugh and draw you close but still maintain a wall of mystery about him. He served in the armed forces. He was a marine and once you are a marine, you are always a marine. My brother and I used to crack that we were going to sue the government one day for messing with our father's head. He wanted things in a certain formation and when that didn't happen he was a terror.
Most of all my father taught us loyalty. You didn't take what wasn't yours and you didn't behave one way but talk another. I have my father's fierce sense of love and loyalty especially for my family. When someone steps out of line and loyalty isn't their first and foremost thought I become frustrated. My mother and father used to tell us kids, "love each other with your whole heart for one day your mother and I will be gone." How right he was. My mother died before her 40th birthday and he died not long after. The hole they left in our lives felt like these giant footprints that we would walk around, try to build bridges over and out of frustration eventually you just give in to. I miss them. I miss him when I am unsure and not feeling strong. I miss calling him on Thursday afternoons and bringing him lunch. You see, growing up I had a warrior on my side. No matter what circumstances he was on your side.
In the 8th grade or so I had this teacher, Mr. Zolno. Mr. Zolno was a strange man, he walked with a noticeable limp and he was a cog in the system. I battled this teacher about not wanting to learn to speak little parts of Spanish. I came home in total frustration as this Spanish class kept me from the extra music classes I loved so well. One day I just poured it all out to my dad and the next day in the middle of class he had taken himself from work to show up at school. After a heated conversation with Mr. Zolno my dad threated to break off his good leg and shove it up his ass. Students were perched at the door and for awhile my dad was a bit of a folk hero. Later he would tell me, "study hard and the Zolnos of the world won't know what to do with you, forget the extra music class. If you want to study music your mother and I will arrange that after school." So why go to school if you felt this way? "Simple, nobody screws with my kid's head."
He was a bully and a man who loved tender women. My mother loved him so much that I think it's a blessing she passed first. She wouldn't know what to do with alone. So Dad, I miss you. I don't just honor you today, I think of you every day and when someone tells me I am being like my father I just kinda smile and try to be more tender. You gave me my love of the garden, my fierce passion for anything and most of all strength. What more could a daughter ask?
I hope you all enjoy Father's day and take a moment to tell your father you love him, even if loving him is a challenge. I am off to make Chicken Ala king for my son.
If you have an interest in my art, you can find me at etsy.com under the seller name POETSUMMER. You can find me on Ebay under the same seller name (I just passed a 4,000 star feedback milestone there) and as always on my own website under Summerpoet.com. I have a little contest running on etsy. When you purchase anything there I will assign you a lottery # when I mail out your order and when we reach the 500th sale I will pull a name and make you a custom bracelet, on me. The shipping is on me and the bracelet on me. I will also pull about 10 runners up who I will make either a pair of earrings for or a ring. It's just a little way of saying thanks for YOUR loyalty and for being so supportive of my art. Take care and enjoy the day! Carrie.